60 Utah National Guard members prepare for deployment to Afghanistan

CAMP WILLIAMS, Utah – The Utah National Guard honored 60 members preparing for deployment to Afghanistan in a departure ceremony at Camp Williams Sunday.

Sixty members comprise the Utah National Guard’s 4th Infantry Division Main Command Post Operational Detachment, all of whom are now ready to serve and preparing for deployment.

“We have the right team. We have the right people, and we’re prepared,” said Utah National Guard Lieutenant Colonel Talon Greef.

“We’ll return with everyone, and we’ll return hearing how great the deployment was and how the Utah National Guard soldier was steadfast and loyal,” Greef added.

Their mission is to work alongside Afghan army and security forces in the NATO-led Operation Resolute Support.

“We’re supporting the Afghan national army and their security forces, so that they can manage their country,” Greef said. “Helping to build up that infrastructure so that the Afghan government can provide that stability so that we don’t have to worry about more attacks from that area.”

But behind these brave soldiers...

“It gets kind of nerve-wracking but really good, really excited to go out and serve your country,” said Utah National Guard specialist, Nathan Macdonald.

Macdonald is one of the 60 preparing for deployment.

Men and women, saying goodbye to their families.

“A lot of people have not gone through something like this,” said Nathan’s wife, Olivia Macdonald.

“We’ve been trying to spend a lot of quality time,” said Nathan.

For Nathan, it’s not the battle ahead that makes him nervous.

“It’s kind of a big deal, you know? To step away from your family and hope that they have all of the support that they need while you’re gone,” he said.

While beaming with pride, Olivia said she feels emotionally overwhelmed.

“There’s a lot of excitement,” Olivia said. “But there’s also, I guess fear, in some way and sadness of just being separated.”

Both, ready to make their own sacrifice.

“A lot of FaceTime, email, writing letters, just doing the best that we can,” Nathan said.

For something much bigger.

“I’m happy to make the sacrifice, as hard as it is and I’m very grateful for those in the past that have already made the sacrifice,” Olivia said.

“We have the right team and the right people, we’re prepared to do this,” Nathan said confidently.

The soldiers will be flown to Colorado for a pre-deployment training Monday morning, before continuing on to Afghanistan.